HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The U.S. Army Contracting Command underwent a change of leadership this week as their commander marked his retirement and passed the torch to another proven and decorated soldier.
During a change of command ceremony Thursday morning, Major General James Simpson marked his retirement and handed over the reins to Brigadier General Paul Pardew.
Pardew will be the command's fourth commanding general. He was the ACC deputy commanding general for operations outside the United States.
"This is a transition between two great officers. I'm following General Simpson and it's big shoes to step into. I'm excited about that. He's going off to a well-deserved retirement and we're looking forward to continuing to support the Army and all the things we're doing. We're involved in Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan globally so this is a continuation of that mission," Pardew said after the ceremony.
ACC, a subordinate command of Army Materiel Command, supports Army readiness, sustainment and modernization. Its workforce includes more than 6,000 military and civilian personnel at more than 100 locations worldwide. ACC awarded and managed more than 165,000 contract actions valued at more than $62 billion in fiscal year 2017.
"The mission is simple- prepare for war and be ready to execute war. It's a challenge. James Simpson, you fulfilled that challenge. Paul Pardew, I'm confident you will do the same," said General Gus Perna, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
"This is a big job and it's tremendously important for the United States Army. My focus is going to largely be on continuing to produce readiness for the United States Army so that we can do what the nation asks us to do," Pardew added.
During the ceremony, General Simpson was recognized for his 33 years of service. Perna described him as a great leader, soldier and technical expert. Simpson thanked his family for their love and support and said he has been proud to wear the Army uniform and serve in the greatest Army in the world.
Simpson and his wife Zelda received several certificates and awards for what they've done for the Army, soldiers and their families.
He became ACC's commander in August 2015. Prior to that, he served all over the world in different leadership roles, including the Director of Contracting and the Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement.
"It has been an honor to serve with Brig. Gen. Pardew here at the headquarters over the past 18 months," Simpson said in announcing Pardew's selection to the command. "I know he will continue to excel as your next commanding general."
Pardew said he is excited about the opportunity to lead ACC.
"It's a great mission with great people," he said.
He credited those who have coached and mentored him throughout his career, including Simpson, for his success.
"You don't get here alone," Pardew said. "I've had the help of a lot of smart, passionate professionals along the way. I've had great support from the boss (Simpson)."
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